Issue 7, 2012

Efficient key pathway mining: combining networks and OMICS data


Systems biology has emerged over the last decade. Driven by the advances in sophisticated measurement technology the research community generated huge molecular biology data sets. These comprise rather static data on the interplay of biological entities, for instance proteinprotein interaction network data, as well as quite dynamic data collected for studying the behavior of individual cells or tissues in accordance with changing environmental conditions, such as DNA microarrays or RNA sequencing. Here we bring the two different data types together in order to gain higher level knowledge. We introduce a significantly improved version of the KeyPathwayMiner software framework. Given a biological network modelled as a graph and a set of expression studies, KeyPathwayMiner efficiently finds and visualizes connected sub-networks where most components are expressed in most cases. It finds all maximal connected sub-networks where all nodes but k exceptions are expressed in all experimental studies but at most l exceptions. We demonstrate the power of the new approach by comparing it to similar approaches with gene expression data previously used to study Huntington's disease. In addition, we demonstrate KeyPathwayMiner's flexibility and applicability to non-array data by analyzing genome-scale DNA methylation profiles from colorectal tumor cancer patients. KeyPathwayMiner release 2 is available as a Cytoscape plugin and online at

Graphical abstract: Efficient key pathway mining: combining networks and OMICS data

Article information

Article type
11 Oct 2011
02 Jan 2012
First published
21 Feb 2012

Integr. Biol., 2012,4, 756-764